I must admit, it took me a couple of chapters to really get into A Dead Man in Deptford. Author Anthony Burgess takes advantage of his linguistic gifts in an unusual way with this book: he writes it in the style of Christopher Marlowe, the titular dead man.
Once I got what Burgess was about, I enjoyed the book immensely. The author takes us into the world of both Elizabethan theatre and politics (Marlowe was part of Sir Francis Walsingham's secret spy service) in an entertaining and educational way. We see Marlowe's various foibles in pursuit of romance (not an easy thing to do as a gay man during this time period), as well as how he developed as a poet and playwright.
As a history buff and former reenactor, the subject matter appealed to me on that level alone. However, at the end of the day, it was Burgess' linguistic style and skill as a storyteller that earned this book its four stars.